Filed under: Movie Reviews | Tags: Agent Coulson, avengers, Black Widow, Captain America, Chitauri, Cosmic Cube, hawkeye, hulk, Iron-Man, Loki, Marvel Studios, Nick Fury, SHIELD, Stan Lee, Thor
The ultimate Marvel team-up finally hit screens here last night for the UK, a week ahead of the US who get the film on the 4th May. The question on everyone’s lips since its announcement was “Could Joss Whedon pull it off?” (SPOILER ALERT!! – although I’ve tried to keep away from giving any of the finer details)
Up to now we’ve seen Marvel Studios progressively takeover cinemas with their steady releases of comic book films each one hinting towards the next and with Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Incredible Hulk, Iron-Man 1 & 2 already impressing the majority of comic book fans (can’t please everyone) and movie-goers alike – Avengers was always going to be a massive challenge, even for someone with the genre involvement Whedon has. Having become an adopted geek to the comic book lovers in the world and with Buffy/Angel already a big note on his CV (although I can’t really say that I’m a fan of them) through to Firefly/Serenity which were all well received and got significant levels of outcry when they were finished/cancelled.
Avengers Assemble (UK title) proved to be a fine balancing act that we’d expect – a strong cast with a few changes here and there over the course of the Marvel releases and enough BIG characters that an air of doubt was felt on its announcement. Was Marvel aiming just TOO high given the names involved – prior to seeing the film, I’d have said “maybe” but with Whedon at the helm, writing & directing, we’ve got one of the best comic book films EVER made on show here.
It’s a high-paced start as we see Loki return as the central baddie – power hungry and ready to use the Tesseract/Cosmic Cube (as seen in Captain America’s post-credits scene) to rule Earth. A twisting, evil plot where he infiltrates SHIELD as part of his plans – taking control of Hawkeye as his right-hand man in the process. Seen as a direct act of war we get Nick Fury, Black Widow and Agent Coulson rallying the troops together to face the enemy head-on. Sounds simple enough right? – wrong, the superheroes of the modern-world may well meet at Fury’s request but Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Captain America, Hulk and Iron-Man are far from ready to form a team so quick.
A strong script with enough witty jibes and quips that you’d get within a team, aren’t enough to contain their headstrong approaches to the same problem. In-fighting gives way to a full-on slug-fest between the members themselves and forms the basis for the 1st half of the film and sees their egos and muscles go toe-to-toe. Eventually gathering on SHIELD’s Helicarrier and bringing in Loki as their prisoner in scrappy fashion…..it all seems a little bit too easy and we soon find out that there is much more to Loki’s plan here….including him being captured. Escaping his cell and virtually destroying SHIELD’s Hellicarrier base from the inside – we get to see the truly evil side of Loki as we get a surprising death at the half-way stage. A death that momentarily breaks the Avengers, only to have them come back stronger as a team and to function as a unit. All in time for Loki’s master plan to unfold as he unleashes the Chitauri on the people of Earth. What unfolds next is the real team stuff – Cap takes control calling out tactics and pointing each member to their positions. ”Hulk….Smash!” being the obvious direction in here too.
The CGI really kicks in here as the Avengers take on the marauding army – fighting as individuals, as pairs and then as a group……you gotta love that kind of build up. Strong choreographed fights mingle with short pauses for more one-liners and the fun factor is there from start to finish.
The success of the film in general falls down to the even split for each member in terms of screen time – from Steve and his struggle to fit into a new world as Cap, Thor and his pursuit of his brother, Tony Stark and his growing business (and number of Iron-man suits), Bruce Banner hiding away from the world while he controls the Hulk side of himself and SHIELD being the constant in them all – Nick Fury, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Agent Coulson. Let’s not forget the obligatory Stan Lee cameo as well as he’s on fine form yet again and the usual end credits scene, which I won’t spoil….but even if I DID tell you what happens – it may not help unless you know a little bit more of the comics they’re based on – a nod to the fanboys perhaps.
Overall, this WILL be a massive success for Marvel and it’s certainly one of the best movies they have ever released. In the top 2 for me at least – as I think Thor JUST edges. That’s perhaps more down to my expectations from Joss Whedon and his previous involvement in a geeky genre. Brannagh edges it because he surprised me completely from my “WTF?” when he was chosen to direct. That being said, the pace, fun and laugh-out-loud moments of Avengers Assemble has me figuring out when I can get back into the cinema to see it again….and as a true Marvel comics geek…..I got a buzz from seeing Cap’s uniform for the first time – sad I know but I’m writing this review while trying to check eBay for a replica Cap shield – so don’t judge me.
Well worth seeing and I at least hope that Marvel’s momentum continues in their next set of releases. Chances are I’ll be seeing it again in the cinema….maybe even in 3D this time….just to see how it compares but I KNOW I’ll enjoy it the same. Keep em coming Marvel…….keep em coming!
Robert Downey Jr. Tony Stark/Iron Man
Chris Evans Steve Rogers/Captain America
Mark Ruffalo Bruce Banner/The Hulk
Chris Hemsworth Thor
Scarlett Johansson Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
Jeremy Renner Clint Barton/Hawkeye
Tom Hiddleston Loki
Samuel L. Jackson Nick Fury
Clark Gregg Agent Coulson
Cobie Smulders Agent Hill
Joss Whedon Director/Story Co-writer/Script writer
Reviewer – G-Man
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